A Klutz Rakes Leaves: The Battle Of The Mantras

Out raking the leaves.

Half an acre lot sloping down into a ravine with a creek.

Maybe about 28 trees on it.

[Never doubt that trees beget leaves.] 

Getting tired. Getting bored.

Mind starts to offer mantras.

“I think I can… I think I can…”

Childhood wisdom gleaned from reading.

“When in doubt, don’t.”

Adult wisdom imparted by yoga teacher.

“Yes we can.”

Political slogan, uplifting.

“Be careful.”

Mom, always.

Then the deciding factor.

While raking on the hillside, giving it my all, I slipped and fell on my backside.

Just. Like. That.

Nothing hurt. Not even my ego.

I’m a klutz* after all.

But suddenly the angels sang and I knew which mantra to follow.

DID I KEEP GOING INSPIRED TO OVERCOME or DID I MAKE A STRATEGIC RETREAT?

Discuss.

* Previously documented examples of my klutziness: 1) fell on face while carrying donation into Goodwill;  2) thrown off Segway while moving through cemetery;  and 3) during house party dropped ottoman on toe breaking toenail.

#CBF17 | See What I Mean? This Is What I Cherish.

I’m joining the Cherished Blogfest here. Cherished Blogfest is open to all bloggers who want to write about something that or someone who they cherish.

I wrote this post last week meaning to join the blogfest over the weekend, but I failed to meet the deadline.

However, with a hat tip to Joanne for letting me know, TPTB* have extended the Cherished Blogfest deadline to Sunday October 22nd so I’m in.  Better late than never! Why not join in, too?

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Little Ally Bean

This is my first grade school photo.

First you’ll notice that the photographer didn’t manage to center me in the frame.  I was a wiggly little girl, so– you know.

Then you’ll notice that my white cotton blouse collar is going one direction while my itchy wool plaid jumper is going in a different direction.

Clothes horse, never been one.

If you’re still looking at the photo, and I do hope that you are, you’ll notice that I’m wearing spectacles.

Eyeglasses.

Granted, they were dorky, unfashionable ones made of the strongest plastic available and were the cheapest ones on the rack at the doctor’s office– but I cherished these glasses.

And here’s why: my vision was lousy and it wasn’t until I got my first pair of spectacles that I actually began to see the world around me.

In detail.

I mean, who knew that the green blob up on top of the tree trunk was actually lots of little green leaves?

Not me.

Or that billboards along the highway had words and faces on them, not just random and abstract colorful smudges?

Again, not me.

Now I realize that many, many kids [and adults] hate eyeglasses– for whatever reasons. But I’m not one of them. I think spectacles are one of the best things on earth, having the power to instantly, safely connect a person with their environment, whether it be natural or bookish.

And because of that power, to this day I cherish my eyeglasses for what they have, and I hope continue to do, for me.

In fact, I respect my spectacles so much I even named my blog after them.  You, my gentle readers, do realize that you’re reading The Spectacled Bean, right? 😎

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* TPTB for this blogfest are: Damyanti Biswas, Dan Antion, Cheryl Pennington, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, Mary Giese, Kate Powell, and Paul Ruddock

Modern Life 101: When The Text Wasn’t Meant For You, What Do You Do?

THE OTHER DAY I received text messages from friends that I wasn’t supposed to receive.  I was part of the conversation by accident.

We all know that stuff like this happens.

[In fact, it’s a miracle that when I text with Z-D I don’t accidentally include his sisters on the text.  In my phone, they’re all set up together so that I can send group texts.  Meaning that if I want to just text Z-D alone, I have to scroll down my contacts to find him.

I figure it’s a matter of time before I get distracted and text his sisters with something like: Pizza 🍕? Beer 🍻 too plz. You get dinner 🆗?]

SO, YOU’RE WONDERING IF what I read in these texts was salacious, aren’t you?  Did I get some good dirt on these friends who included me, but didn’t really mean to include me?

Well, no.

The texting was about how much one friend adored the daughter of another friend and how she was so happy to have spent time with the other friend’s daughter.

Gushy Mom Stuff, you know?

[But this texting did remind of something that happened years ago when email was new.  I got BCCed on messages going between two married friends who were, it seemed to me, having a lesbian affair that their husbands didn’t know about.

I didn’t need to know about it either, but there it was.]

ANYHOO, I FIGURE THAT everyone probably has a story about inadvertently learning something about someone else because that someone else made a mistake when using some kind of newfangled communication technology.

Like a text. Or an email. Or a voice mail, if we’re really reaching back in time.

I’m talking about eavesdropping, modern-style.

So, kids, spill the beans.

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What do you know that you’re not supposed to know? How did you come to know this? Did you do anything with the information that you accidentally learned?

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15 Hours Without Electricity Because– Well, We Don’t Know Why

Think of this as a rambling “Dear Diary” post…

THE LONG WHINY PART

{ feel free to skip if muttering and complaining bother you }

Around 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning I was awakened from my slumber by the loud *click-clack-thunk-bunk* sounds of our machines, powered by electricity, turning themselves off.

What kind of forking shirt is this, I asked myself, emulating Eleanor Shellstrop from The Good Place as I used her creative vocabulary to express myself.

As one does.

Inside our house it was dark except for where the moon beamed in some light on the back of the house.  The front of the house, along with all of our neighbors’ houses, was dark.

Of course, having not recently fallen off the suburban homeowner turnip truck, I didn’t do a thing, except to look out a few windows, confirm that the whole neighborhood was without power, and then go back to sleep.

Next morning there was still no electricity anywhere on our street, so being the trooper that I am I got dressed and drove elsewhere to find us hot coffee.

[And what a sad bedraggled bunch of folks were we, the coffee fetchers, at the local Kroger Star$ kiosk.  Barely alert, yet focused on our mission to get the sustaining elixir of life for ourselves and our loved ones.]

THE DETAILED WHAT WE DID UNTIL WE GOT ELECTRICITY AGAIN PART 

{ probably want to skim over for context regarding the photos to come }

By 9:00 a.m. we still had no electricity, no idea why we didn’t have electricity, and our cell phones were almost without juice, so we did the only thing we could think of and went out to breakfast, at what turned out to be the world’s worst Bob Evans.

Humph.

Then, needing to charge our phones, we drove to the other side of somewhere to go to a garden nursery;  we like this garden nursery, but buying mums, which we did, was the secondary reason for our visit.  We required a long car ride to help our phones get going again.

Modern life, ain’t it grand?

Then, having called home to find that our answering machine wasn’t picking up, meaning no electricity, we decided to stop at a little new-to-us township park to wander around its flat paths and see what was there.

Short answer: kids and chairs.

Then, it being the middle of the afternoon on a day that wasn’t working out like I’d hoped, we went to the bar of a local restaurant that is known for chicken.  There we had delicious chicken sandwiches, watched some football, and drank beer.

Because… Saturday… in the fall… and bored.

THE 8 PRETTY PHOTOGRAPHS PART

{ make sure to look at these ‘cuz it was a clear day meant for snapping pics }

Pond at garden nursery.

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Geese on pond at garden nursery.

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Ducks avoiding geese on pond at garden nursery.

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Island in middle of pond at township park.

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Human beings gathered around play area beside pond at township park.

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Old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

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Chairs waiting for guests beside old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

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Farm with corn in the field across from pond at township park.

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Carelessness, Coupons, And Cake– OH MY!

It would seem that at some point in the recent past we stole our neighbor’s mail.  Well, we didn’t intentionally steal it as much as we accidentally acquired their mail.

My defense for this lapse is that we aren’t mail thieves, per se, as much as distracted, pre-elderly homeowners who assume any and all mail in our mailbox is, indeed, our mail.

But that assumption would be wrong. Oh yes, so wrong.

In fact, I wouldn’t have noticed this theft accidental acquirement if not for the good old coupons.  You know, the paper kind that come in the mail IF you’re a Kroger Plus Customer.

I’m talking about the ones that are specifically sent to you because you buy the same stuff over and over.

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Look at those shopping carts all lined up. So tidy.  {Photo via Pixabay by Michael Gaida}

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IT’S LIKE THIS, my gentle readers: the other day I went to get our mail from our mailbox and I see that our monthly Kroger Plus Customer coupon envelope is among the letters/junk mail in my hand.  I go inside the house, open the envelope, whereupon I feast my eyes on our very special and specific coupons.

[Some of which are for FREE money off your order if you spend a certain amount of money at the checkout.  This is normal.]

But it dawns on me that just a few days before Zen-Den had retrieved the mail from the mailbox, opened what he assumed was our Kroger Plus Customer envelope and left the coupons on the kitchen counter for me to file.

Which I hadn’t done yet.

Suddenly I start looking at these coupons on the counter, thinking how peculiar it is that we have coupons for Hubba Bubba bubble gum, and Annie’s Organic Cinnamon Rolls with Icing, and Simply Potatoes frozen potatoes. Items we don’t buy. Ever.

[I also notice that the FREE coupons are for things like Betty Crocker cake mix, not for FREE money.  That’s not our normal.]

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Look at Barney Kroger, founder of the Kroger supermarket chain. So dapper.  {photo source here via Library of Congress}

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SLOWLY IT DAWNS on me that the coupons we have sitting on our kitchen counter are someone else’s coupons.  And because the envelope that these coupons came in is long gone, there’s no way to return the coupons to them.

Meaning, of course, that we, the Beans, jointly and severally, are miscreants of the lowest order, stealing [acquiring?] grocery coupons from our neighbors, like we’re two addled-brained overwrought suburbanites without the sense to read the front of an envelope.

Which clearly we are… but does not necessarily mean that we’re above using an accidentally acquired coupon to get a free box of cake mix.

Because, you know, CAKE!

A Refreshing Conversation With An Older Gentleman Who Takes Life In Stride

“Sometimes you’re the windshield, Sometimes you’re the bug…” 

I was listening to an older acquaintance chuckle as he told me about a scam he’d gotten caught up in.  He understood what had happened and how it’d happened.

After some research and many phone calls, he’d extracted himself from the scam and was a few hundred dollars poorer because of it.

He told me that in retrospect he realized that the whole mess was less about him being stupid, than about the scam being slick and sophisticated, taking advantage of his trusting nature + his unfamiliarity with certain details.

No surprise there, eh?

But what struck me about this conversation, that was more like a monologue, was that this older gentleman telling me this story wasn’t bitter about what had happened.  There was not one ounce of “I’m a victim” or “I blame _____” going on with this guy.

Instead, he was telling his story as a cautionary tale.  All he needed was for someone to listen and understand his predicament– and for someone to tell him that he “done good” solving the problem himself.

All of which got me thinking…

When was the last time you were part of a conversation like this one?  SERIOUSLY, when did you last listen to someone who had been taken advantage of– and who wasn’t whining and emoting about the unfairness of it all?

Someone who was behaving like an adult who grasped the fact that in the rhythm of life not everything works out as planned– and that’s ok, too, because if you’re smart, you learn from it and move on.

Like this older gentleman did, in his quiet self-deprecating way.

Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 1 Of 2

WHEN I STARTED THIS blog years ago my intention was to write 80% about how we were updating our house + garden, then 20% about topics I was researching.  I thought this would be more of a design + information blog, rather than a lifestyle journal-ish blog.

Well, that idea fell apart, didn’t it?

Early on I discovered that:

  1. Even though I’m passionate about design, I don’t like writing about the involved decision-making process that goes on within all decorating +  remodeling projects.  I feel clunky and stressed when I try to write about design.
  2. Even though I enjoy photographing nature and signs and building exteriors, I end up swearing at my camera when I attempt to take pics of inside rooms.  I don’t have an eye for design photography, and my poor camera takes the brunt of my frustration.
  3. Even though I had some fun blog followers who were interested in our ongoing home improvement stories, they, to a one, stopped keeping blogs and drifted away from  the blogosphere.  I now have more wordy followers who groove on topics other than design.

So I had a little sit down chit-chat with myself to reassess what I was doing here, realizing that my most popular fun-to-write blog posts were personal, often about my observations regarding the wack-o-ness of people OR about small glimpses into the ordinariness of my daily life.

And then, I pretty much stopped writing about or photographing what we’re doing around the house.  No one cared, and I didn’t mind not writing about the angsty-ness and minutiae of design projects.

However…

[Part 2 will be tomorrow.]

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